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Does Coffee Expire?

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Does Coffee Expire

Everything does have an expiration date, so those who care about coffee probably question the shelf life of coffee. And those questions might be, does the coffee expire? How long could they stay fresh? Will it turn bad and affect the flavors? What are the possible damages that could happen to the leftover coffee beans? If you are here to solve your doubts, you are on the right page. So, here we are going to discuss the shelf life of coffee whether they do expire or not.  

Does coffee expire? intro
Source: Espresso Machine

There are various factors that contribute to the coffee’s shelf lives like the preparation of coffee, how you store the coffee, what kind of containers you use, these are the points that can identify the duration or the quality of the coffee.

However, scientific proof proves that coffee will not last forever due to its compounds of carbohydrate, amino acids which eventually will break down the chemicals and affect the flavors of the coffee.

So, there are reasons and methods that you should know about how to avoid losing the flavor of your good.


How To Tell If Your Coffee Is Bad or Spoiled?

The best way to know your coffee condition is you can try it with a simple method by smelling the coffee. Because the good coffee has a nice and fresh smell. Though, if the coffee has bad aroma, it does not mean coffee is expired but it only does give an unpleasant flavor which would be a little bit of a disappointment to your satisfaction.

But you can still use this even when it loses its aromatic smell, it will not give you any serious harms, just the taste is not good as fresh as the good ones and the color will turn into lighter brown with a little sour for the aftertaste. 

Since the coffee started to lose its flavor slowly after grinding as the oil begins to expel, so when and/or how long you want to use the coffee is actually really depending on your taste preference.

But it is not recommended for you to use it after the due date because even there will not any serious harms proven but still there is a little risk involved.

Preserve Method to Extend the Coffee Shelf Life

Coffees do degrade fast but not expire; it is depending on the surface area in which the whole beans keep longer than ground coffee. You better buy the whole beans and then grind them as much as you want the flavor to be and that you will get the freshness of your coffee every time you brew them.

So, the best way to store your coffee is to put them in an airtight container or coffee canister and place it in the freezer, you may take out the amount you wanted to use, with this it will keep out the moisture from the coffee beans as the moisture itself is like a poison to the coffee.

If it is exposed to the moisture, it will change the flavor of the coffee and affect the freshness of the brewed coffee.

It is suggested that you should better consume your coffee as soon as possible after purchasing, because the long-awaiting of the storing coffee can also give a higher risk of soiling.  

Freezing Coffee

You may read somewhere that says freezing your coffee is a method to help in storing the coffee, and yes it does slightly help, BUT please keep in mind that this method will also affect the flavor of your beans or grounds due to the moisture that can ooze into your coffee.

So, this method is not highly recommended, better store your coffee in a dry place but also avoid the sun light.

Freezing Coffee
Source: Review Geek

Bean vs Grounds: Breaking it Down

The soiling coffee is depending on the form of coffee that is stored in. Whether you may want to grind your coffee at home, or brew the already grinded coffee is based on your preferred choice but yeah knowing how to store it properly it can help to preserve your coffee better.

Bean vs Grounds: Breaking it Down
Source: Top 15

The Whole Beans Coffee

Whole Beans Coffee can last between 6 to 9 months after being sealed. They are still in the solid form that could function as the molecule’s compounds to the coffee’s flavor. Yet, if the bag of the beans has opened, nothing to expect much but the beans could only last for about 6 months only.

The Coffee Grounds

Coffee Grounds does not last any longer as the whole bean due to its physical smallness broken down. They are more vulnerable and soiling faster than the whole beans. The oils in the coffees will begin to dissolve at a faster rate and if the bag is unsealed the grounds could last about 3 to 5 months past the due date. but if the bag is opened it can also last to 5 months as well in the pantry safely.

The Instant Coffee

Instant Coffee as we shall know the instant coffee is a form of ground coffee that is indestructible that lasts way longer than whole beans and ground coffee from 2 to 20 years which depends how well you store the packs. But, the flavor of this instant coffee probably could not beat the taste of freshly ground coffee since it has been hardly broken down and packed.

But for the instant coffee stands out the best for those who prefer convenience over the high-quality flavors like campers, runner and sort. And instant coffee is also easy to store in the freezer and still have the same taste as once bought.

The Brewed Coffee

Once the coffee is brewed it could last only 4 to 6 hours at most that is still drinkable but the taste will not be guaranteed as freshly made because coffee can oxidize fast in the form of liquid. So, if you do not want to waste your coffee, you should maximize the amount you need, but you can also drink in a thermal carafe which can last a bit longer and keep your coffee fresh as it is.

Please note that, once your brewed coffee becomes cool, you should NOT reheat your coffee because it will not help in regaining the flavors. though, if you want to keep your leftover brewed coffee, you may freeze it in the ice tray for future use.

What If We Want to Consume The Expired Coffee?

After identifying the above, you may wonder “What If We Want to Consume The Expired Coffee?

What if we want to consume the expired coffee?
Source: Koffee Kult

The answer is yes you can and it will affect anything as long as there is no mold or anything screw up in your coffee. But be aware that the flavor will not stay the same, the freshness fades which apply onto the whole beans and ground coffee.

Does Roast Matter?

Well, as said there are many different ways, different flavors and aromas that the coffee can be roasted, but yes there is still a connection between the expiration date and the roasting date, because the freshness of the roasted beans also matters. The lighter roast could last longer than the dark roast because the dark roast has more oils and amino acids and it leads to a faster rate of soiling too.

However, as we have mentioned already that if you want keep your coffee beans, grounds or the leftover, you should consider any type of container that the cover lid is tight enough to prevent any flow of air into your coffee, and you can also use a vacuum-sealed bag has an airtight level that can be used to avoid high risk of oxygen and moisture to your coffee.

Interesting techniques for your coffee

On a side note, if you feel like you are not confident about your coffee expiration date, there are a few interesting techniques with extra flavors that you can use before your coffee goes into a waste: 

  • Make a milkshake out of your coffee by which you need an extra flavor as vanilla and iced cube and put them all into a blender and blend it nicely until it gets smooth, then you will have your coffee-shake. 
  • Again, you may pour your brewed coffee into a iced tray then cool it for later use
  • Use your coffee as a water replacement with vanilla or chocolate cake recipe, it will give you an extra flavor mocha


To sum up, you should never waste your coffee, understand your own needs and learn how to store it properly then you are good to go with your favorite coffee.

As a reminder that coffee does not harm seriously to your health, just the fact that the freshness of the coffee, the smell and flavor of the coffee will loosen down will not reach our satisfaction. And the clarification of the durability of each coffee, whole beans, ground coffee, instant coffee are depending on your preference, but still when you know how to store it properly then the coffee is still good to drink. 

Ask Gail: How Long Do Coffee Beans Last? By: Seattle Coffee Gear